Stop me if you’ve heard this before: an incoming recruit being called a two-way star in the making heading into their college career — perhaps even sold on the idea in pitches — only to ever play one side of the ball except on the rarest of occasions.
For the majority of programs across the country, that’s a tale as old as time. Under Jim Harbaugh and Jesse Minter at Michigan, however, the prospect is a truly alluring one.
“Most kids you recruit, they say, ‘Oh yeah, so and so says I can play both ways at his school’ — and nobody plays both ways, so it’s all a lie,” Minter said during his Tuesday media availability. “Jim Harbaugh actually plays guys both ways or gives guys the opportunity to figure out what’s the best position. Is he a skill player, is he a receiver, is he a DB?”
This time around, that kind of attention focuses on sophomore Amorion Walker. After spending last season primarily as a wide receiver and on special teams, the hype of him entering the defensive fold is growing by the day.
In late February, Harbaugh called Walker a “starting cornerback” after the early proceedings of spring ball. While not directly echoing those statements himself, Minter had clear praise for Walker’s abilities.
“His skillset is tremendous,” Minter said. “You’re talking about a guy who’s 6-3, and most times even in the NFL you see a 6-3 corner and it’s like, okay, what trait is he lacking? But he is really really fast, he’s got really good feet, he’s a little unique in that sense. Not to put a crazy expectation on him, but he has the skillset to play (cornerback).”
Of course, all hype should be tempered. In Walker’s case, he is far from a finished product — playing just a handful of snaps in six games last season and still improving as a second-year player.
“It’s gonna come down to — he’s gonna play early in the season. Just like (Will Johnson) last year, he’s gonna have some ups and downs, and it’s gonna be our ability to get him playing the best when the best is needed.” Minter said.
Despite that, it’s clear the praise he receives — from his teammates all the way up to his head coach — is not just lip service. The Wolverines see an athletic phenom in Walker, and they’re licking their chops at the prospect of unleashing him to his fullest potential.